Karli Casler

Graduate Student, The Murphy Lab

You work in a laboratory. What are you currently researching?

I recently joined Patrick Murphy’s lab and am very excited to be starting my research project. I will be using stem cells to study totipotency and how various epigenetic factors participate in and regulate early development and stem cell identity.

What was it that originally sparked your interest in biology?

My interest in biology is deeply rooted in the way I was raised. I grew up in nature and was encouraged to explore, ask questions, and lean into things that I was unsure of. As I got older, I was able to develop a love for nature and a yearning to understand our planet and everything on it. I explored different areas of science including environmental science and medical biology and have ultimately landed in a field that allows me to continue asking questions and leaning into the unknown.

What’s the most important thing that you’ve learned working here and/or studying biology?

The most valuable thing I have learned while studying biology is that not having the answer to every question is a good thing. As a researcher, it is okay to not have answers; it gives you the opportunity to approach a question in a new way and is a great jumping off point for discovery. At U of R, the people surrounding you will challenge you to dig deeper, inspire new ideas and help you push yourself to become more comfortable with not knowing all of the answers.

How do you think our biology department stands out in comparison to other universities?

One aspect of our biology department that stands out to me and was a real driving factor in my decision to attend U of R was the strong sense of community we have. Everyone in the department is so supportive and kind. From collaborations in the department to teaming up on Fridays in the local kickball league, the sense of community and support is so evident here.

How do you unwind when you’re not in the lab?

When I’m not in lab I love spending time in nature. Whether I’m reading in Highland Park, exploring new hikes and trails nearby or just sitting by a lake, being in nature always centers me and brings me a sense of calm.